Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Re: Thoughts, please. For an 80th bday party. UPDATE #24

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Wow, 3 days.  But you can do this once.  Just this once if you really enjoy your MIL.  (Go ahead, ship more wine.)   :)

Just because there will be feasting all three days doesn't mean anyone has to stuff themselves all three days.  Is MIL is general good health?  Will she love all this attention or will this be too much for her?

Since other people are hosting, you can definitely limit your exposure here.  For example, you don't have to stay until the bitter end at Niece's place.  Attend, interact, head back to your hotel and get a massage or read a book.  Retreating is OK.

We did a slide show during my great-uncle's 90th this past year and he loved it, it was really moving.  So I tenth, eleventh that idea.  The mayor of Amarillo also popped in to give him a handshake and a letter of congratulations, which was awesome. 

Re: Three days--I think it could be doable if you watch your "exposure" on each day. Saturday is just dinner, right? Granted, a special dinner, but it sounds like it will be at a restaurant, and only that one meal. Two hours would be plenty to devote to that, maybe a bit more if they get a special separate room. I don't know how long Thanksgiving or the Friday thing usually are; but even if the tradition is to spend "all day" at it, that doesn't mean you actually have to. Put in a few hours, then leave to go home/back to your hotel and decompress. That should help.

GSNW was thinking the same thing, but typed less, and faster. :)

My sister and I threw an 80th birthday party for my dad at the nursing home where he lives.  It was an open house on a Sunday from 2-6.  There were tons of snacks and desserts, but no meal.  We planned the party for six months!  We issued open invitations to the staff and residents of the nursing home, to the church Dad attended, to the college where he taught, and to every relative for whom we had an address.

To encourage relatives to come, I paid for accommodations at a moderately priced hotel and for meals for anyone who showed up at scheduled restaurants.  This was expensive (around $1,000 total), but I think a lot of relatives were able to come because of it.

Things that worked well:

- Display tables scattered throughout the room with a slide show, photo albums, some poster boards, cards sent ahead of time or brought to the party, etc. 
  TIP: Guests are much more interested in the displays if they and their families are part of the show.  One of our poster boards was a photo family tree going back to my great-great-grandfather.  Even the kids liked that.

- A relative who plays piano provided background music.  Just before the cake was brought out, we had everyone sing my dad’s favorite song, which segued into “Happy Birthday”. 

- We put disposable cameras on the tables and got a lot of fun photos from them.  Be sure to have one or more designated photographers and later ask guests for copies of any photos they took. 

What went disastrously wrong:

Two weeks before the party, an influenza epidemic swept through the nursing home.  We moved the party outside to avoid exposing the guests, especially children, to the flu.  A week away from the party, we weren’t sure that Dad would be well enough to attend.  He got much better about three days out . . . but the night before the party, he had a nasty fall. The morning of the party, we called everyone we could reach to cancel, but about 40 people, in addition to relatives, showed up.  Dad was not in good shape at the party, and we cut it short to avoid over-tiring him. 

Despite everything, Dad said the party was one of the best moments of his life. Afterwards, we put together a photo album for him, and we also put related cards and letters into a scrap book.  He treasures these.


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